The Price of Failure (3.5e Quest)

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The Price of Failure[edit]

Intended for four level 13-17 adventurers.

Salicia, the daughter of a rich and powerful ruler of the town of Miryth was kidnapped by a band of brigands, but you failed to save her in the Damsel In Distress! Your party has not lost all hope, and knows that it can still save her and stay on good terms with her dragon father.

  • Prep Time 30 mins — 1 hr
  • Play Time 2 0.5 ½+ hrs

Quest Introduction[edit]

A sequel to Damsel In Distress

History[edit]

Salicia, the daughter of a rich and powerful ruler of the town of Miryth was kidnapped by a band of brigands. Arakith, the lord of the town, put up notices beseeching adventurers to find and rescue his daughter. Despite their best efforts, the adventurers who heeded the call failed to save the poor girl. Not wishing to end the tale on a bad note, Salicia's grave has been unearthed, and the search for her resurrection is underway.

Hook[edit]

You failed to save the Damsel; now you're on the run with her corpse for an unorthodox resurrection.

Background[edit]

This quest may or may not happen at all; if the PC's managed to save Salicia, this quest is a useless contingency plan. If they failed, they now have a heavy amount of coin in their pockets from the previous quest, and Salicia's mangled body is in the back of their carriage. Their methods of atonement have angered the townsfolk; they are being hunted constantly in their search for a resurrection spell.

For the DM[edit]

for this quest to actually occur, Salicia's rescue must have failed in the previous quest. The townsfolk are already on bad terms with the PC's, the Orcs in the surrounding area have grown bolder, and Arakith and his family are nowhere to be found. Salicia has been buried in her father's old lair, along with various offerings the townsfolk have made in her memory. If the PC's decide to steal from the lair, the mundane objects total to 1500 g.

Salicia's soul, despite her atonement in captivity, has been sent to the Abyss for her vanity, debauchery, and laziness. Enough time has lapsed to transform her into a Wrackspawn (See, Monster Manual 4). Resurrection will bring back a horrendously evil version of the once innocent girl named Aicilas. Salicia's corpse, to prevent decomposition, has been turned to lifeless stone.

The townsfolk are not happy about their once-prized daughter being stolen. Within three days of her kidnapping, a massive man hunt begins under the leadership of Miryth's new Mayor, Kjell. The townsfolk are 1st level commoners armed with clubs and farming implements that travel in droves of ten. They should be encountered at random.

Ending the Quest[edit]

To successfully end the quest, Salicia must be resurrected and her inner demon must be dealt with in a non-lethal manner as that would return her to death. After this, her father, Arakith, must be persuaded to return to the town and guard them once again.

For the players[edit]

After a serious screw-up with the rescue plans, you've taken it on yourself to restore Salicia to life by any means necessary, and you need to track her dad down.

NPCs[edit]

Kjell: Chaotic Good Half-Elf Male. Kjell is a level 6 expert level 5 swashbuckler and level 4 duelist who would love nothing more than to beat the PC's senseless. He is pleasant and reasonable to the rest of the townsfolk, but he should be portrayed as an irrational jerk to the PC's; he feels betrayed by the adventurers, and blames them for Salicia's horrendous death. His skills in wordplay and decent swordsmanship have won him the stewardship of Miryth, but his anger prevents him from laying good plans. It is his lack of rational thought and unbridled fury that prevents him from hearing the PC's case. If he isn't killed outright before seeing Salicia, he will no longer agitate the PC's, but he will never forgive them for their initial failure.

Aicilas: Chaotic Evil Advanced Wrackspawn. Aicilas is tortured and disfigured beyond conventional recognition. The instant she is reawakened, she begins to claw and howl madly due to her tortured insanity from The Abyss. She languishes in pain day after day, and has been transformed into a creature of blind rage.

Ailithas, Caroso, Thurgen, and Grey: Chaotic Good Half-Dragon Males. These four level 7 fighters are Salicia's brothers, and guardians of her tomb. Their wit is as sharp as their steel, though they avoid social niceties and jokes when dealing with the PC's, as they, like everyone else, believe them to be defilers. They always attack in a formation, attempting to box in their enemies and use flanking bonuses to defeat them. Unlike Kjell, they are passable tacticians, and can easily take down the PC's by environment and teamwork alone. When they see Aicilas, they will join the PC's in an attempt to fully revive their warped sister.

Items[edit]

The Shadow Carriage: A magic item granted to the PC's by Cellala. In an ironic twist, this darkwood carriage has become staple transport in this continued quest. Pulled by six Phantom Steeds (as a 13th-level sorcerer spell) and Infused with essence from the Plane of Shadow, this carriage can traverse into the Plane of Shadow for up to 13 hours once per week (treat as a the Shadow Walk spell cast by a level 13 sorcerer). The Arms and Equipment Guide explains the mechanics of this in further detail.

Huge Vehicle; Handle Animal +0; Spd 120 ft (poor); Overall HP 90 (hardness 5); Overall AC 3; Ram 4d6; Face 15 ft by 10 ft; Height 10 ft.; Crew 1 (plus 5 passengers); Weight 400 lb; Cargo 500 lb.

Stage One: The Die is Cast[edit]

The scene opens up two days after Arakith's departure, when the PC's return to the town once again. Upon entering, the townsfolk immediately clear the streets. It takes a DC 10 Diplomacy check to even interact with someone, and they are treated as unfriendly. It takes a DC 20 Diplomacy check to increase the attitudes to indifferent, and a DC 25 Diplomacy check to increase even one person to Friendly. After at least one person is Indifferent, it takes a DC 15 gather information check to find out what became of Salicia's remains, and it takes a DC 20 gather information check to discover where she was buried: Her father's old lair. After this information is learned, any people the PC's may have been talking to return to being unfriendly and leave as fast as possible. It is pointless to attempt any further fraternization with the inhabitants, so the PC's can only go ahead from here.

Arakith's old lair is the same as when the PC's first entered it, but now the only inhabitants are Ailithas, Caroso, Thurgen, and Grey who patrol the main chamber where the petrified body of Salicia remains on a stone altar. They are clad in Banded Mail, and carry Heavy Steel Shields. Each carries a scimitar. They guard the main entrance to the tomb, and threaten the PC's if they get too close. Any attempts to get in any further result in an attack from the four. They fight until they take ten or more points of damage, at which point they run away to alert the town about the PC's "betrayal."

If the PC's enter the chamber from the secret escape tunnel carved by Arakith (see The Draconomicon page 236), they slip into the chamber unnoticed by the guards. The entrance to the secret tunnel is 50 feet off the ground (climb DC 10) and camouflaged to look like the mountain side (Search DC 15). Once inside, the PC's must contend with the heavy stone remains of Salicia atop the altar. A DC 16 Dexterity check or DC 16 strength check is required to quietly lift the statue, and an opposed Move Silently check is needed to carry her away without being heard. If the PC's checks fail, the townsfolk in the cave will attack when they hear the statue drop. If the PC's are heard during their theft attempt, the guards will also attack. Refer to the situation above for combat rules.

If the PC's get away unnoticed, the guards will be on their tail in two minutes. The PC's should have just enough time to load Salicia into the Shadow Cariage and make their escape. The four brothers give chase on heavy warhorses after the PC's flee Miryth, armed with Heavy Crossbows. They open fire as soon as they are within range of the carriage. Each horseman has a single case of bolts. The PC's can either engage them or attempt to outlast them. Regardless, combat ends once the guards can no longer attack.

If the town was alerted to what the PC's were doing, the angry mob slows progress through the streets (carriage moves at half speed) and the vehicle takes 1 point of damage per round that it remains in the town. In addition, the PC's must make a DC 10 handle animal check every round or be unable to move. The crowd is 40 feet wide and 300 feet deep. After they escape from the town, the PC's are pursued by the four brothers and six 3rd-level Experts on Light Horses armed with light crossbows.

Stage Two: The Second Town[edit]

After the PC's get away with Salicia's body, they begin wandering through the plains surrounding Miryth. Roll on table 3-25 of The Dungeon Master's Guide, after which the PC's come across the next town: Esthervale. This town is unaware of what the PC's have done in Miryth.

The town is abuzz with gossip at the local Inn, as well as the marketplace. While in the Inn, the PC's can find various mercenaries to assist them for as long as they can pay. The DM should determine the price himself, and at what time the mercenaries demand the next pay.

If the PC's decide to peruse the marketplace, roll on tables 3-8 and 7-1 of the Dungeon Master's Guide to determine what types of items they can find, and rollon other tables as necessary.

In either scenario, the PC's can pick up on local gossip. A DC 5 Gather Information check gives rise to a random adventure hook (Roll a d% on One Hundred Adventure Ideas; page 44 of the Dungeon Master's Guide), and a DC 10 gather information check determines one of the adventure hooks, and that a group of Clerics and their paladin escorts will be arriving in town in the following week.

If the PC's decide to go on the random adventure, the DM will have to construct the new adventure as he sees fit. After they return from the quest, three level 17 Clerics of Pelor will have already arrived, accompanied by five level 19 Paladins.

If the PC's remain in the town for a week, they are attacked in their rooms by Kjell and the four Half-Dragons on the third night of their stay. Kjell and two of the four brothers attempt to keep the PC's at bay while the other two attempt to steal the Shadow Carriage and Salicia's remains from outside. They will escape with Salicia if they are not dealt with. The rooms are 20 feet by 20 feet, and the hallway outside is 20 by 50. A 10 by 10 window is at the end of the hall. A character can easily bull rush their opponent out of the window, in which case they fall ten feet and take 1d2 points of slashing and piercing damage from the broken glass.

If the PC's manage to defeat Kjell and the first two brothers, the other Half-Dragons can be attacked by any character with a ranged weapon. They withdraw after taking seventeen points of damage. If they are not forced into withdrawing, they escape with Kjell and the other two brothers in five rounds, and the PC's must hunt them down. This takes two days, and the DM should roll once again on table 3-25 once for each day. Afterwards, they come upon Kjell and the Half-Dragon's encampment. It takes a DC 17 move silently check to sneak in and reclaim the carriage. If they are heard, combat ensues once again with the five adventurers. If the PC's make it into the carriage, Kjell and the Half-Dragons open fire with heavy crossbows until the carriage pulls out of range.


After this short adventure, the Clerics will arrive on the morning the PC's return, or after two days, depending on the circumstances with Kjell and the Half-Dragons. The clerics are staying at the same inn as the PC's, though their rooms are guarded by the Paladins. The Paladins are treated as indifferent to the PC's when they first approach, but they will become hostile if they attempt to shove their way past the doors. It takes a DC 16 Diplomacy check to increase their attitudes to friendly, at which point they will allow the PC's to talk to the Clerics about Salicia. After the situation is explained, the Clerics agree to resurrect Salicia. Unable to return her to living flesh by their power, they nonetheless cast a true resurrection spell, restoring her to life while leaving her in statue form. The clerics then bid the PC's farewell, and the Paladins usher them out of the room.

Stage Three: Aicilas Rises[edit]

The next day, the Clerics pack up and leave. Salicia's now-living petrified body shows no signs of evil, but a detect evil spell or similar magic determines what exactly has become of the girl. If this is discovered, continue to stage four. If not, proceed with the current quest.

The PC's may now choose to restore "Salicia" to normal themselves or hire someone else to do the job (if they cannot cast the appropriate spell themselves). If the PC's restore "Salicia" themselves, Aicilas makes her appearance and attempts to kill the nearest character (probably the spellcaster). If the PC's hire someone, the situation becomes more dangerous because the spellcaster will attempt to fight back and deal lethal damage to Aicilas until he or the demon is dead.

Aicilas won't stop fighting of her own volition; she will have to be knocked unconscious either by magic or dealing enough non-lethal damage.

If Aicilas is killed, she is now an outsider's corpse, starting an entirely new side-quest if desired or simply ending the quest in failure.

Stage Four: Purification[edit]

If the PC's brought out Aicilas and defeated her through non-lethal damage, she wakes up every hour and attempts to escape. When she wakes up, her non-lethal damage is still high, so knocking her out continuously should not be a problem. On the other hand, if she was knocked out by magic, she wakes up as soon as the spell ends and attempts to escape more frequently. A combination of beatings and magical unconsciousness needs to be maintained until the PC's can bring her to the next destination.

The PC's have already left Esthervale by this point; the townsfolk have driven them away until they can sort out their ordeal. Again out on the plains, the PC's should be attacked by Kjell and Salicia's brothers once again after Aicilas wakes up for the third time. They attack until they see Aicilas, at which point the brothers stop. Aicilas attacks Kjell with destruction, possibly killing him if she is still conscious.

If Kjell is killed, the Half-Dragons fall back until Aicilas is knocked out. If Aicilas is knocked out before she can attack anyone, the Half-Dragons will hold Kjell back and prevent him from attacking again. Now with an opportunity for the PC's to plead their case, it will take a DC 20 diplomacy check to convince Kjell to aid this. After this, angry mobs will stop appearing as random encounters.

The Half-Dragons tell the PC's about a nearby fortress belonging to the Order of the Chalice (see Complete Warrior page 141), a destination about two days away. If Kjell is still alive, he procures an iron flask and traps Aicilas inside. If not, Aicilas will continuously hound the group until they reach the Order's fortress.

If the PC's arrive with Kjell and the others, they are allowed passage into the fortress, at which point Aicilas is released from the flask and the situation is explained. Forcing her back into the flask, the Order takes her away with the promise of purifying her from Salicia's body.

The situation is very different when the PC's drag the unconscious body of Aicilas to the fortress. It takes a DC 18 Diplomacy check to even be allowed passage into the area, and another DC 15 check to convince the Order to aid the party. Any attempts to otherwise enter result in a fortress-wide alarm and a nigh endless horde of angry demon hunters.

While the ritual is being prepared, Aicilas begins summoning fiends to harass the Order and prevent her exorcism. In the first round, she conjures an Osyluth with her Summon monster spell, and every round after she conjures hordes of lemures using her summon monster spell in conjuction with her maximize spell feat, until she can't keep summoning their kind, to both slay the members of the order and to help her escape. They begin their assault as soon as the ritual begins. The PC's must fend these creatures off before the process can continue, but they are aided by other members of the Order. If they cannot fight their way through, Aicilas escapes from the ritual and begins terrorizing the fortress in two minutes.

If the PC's manage to keep the ritual from being disrupted but do not manage to keep Aicilas from escaping, the entire Fortress goes on lock down and Aicilas will have to be subdued and carried into the ritual hall before it can continue.

If the PC's stop Aicilas but fail to keep the ritual intact, the process is ruined and will have to start over, taking three hours.

If the PC's fail to stop both Aicilas's escape and the disruption of the ritual, they will have to find her and any ritualistic items she may have hidden around the fortress (Search DC 15)). After this, it will take three hours to complete the newly started ritual.

After the ritual is performed (See the Ritual of Vitality and Ritual of Alignment in Savage Species), Aicilas is returned to being Salicia, though she is now an Ex-cleric rather than a level 10 aristocrat, and she is now Lawful Good.

Stage Five: Finding the Dragon[edit]

After three days of resting in the Order's fortress, Salicia recuperates and joins on with the rest of the party. The final task of the story will be finding Arakith, wherever he may be. Both Esthervale and Miryth are friendly towards the PC's now that the fiasco with Aicilas is over. Regardless of which town they choose to go to, the PC's can find a soothsayer with a DC 5 Gather Information check. After paying the spellcaster to locate Arakith, the PC's determine the location of the island, which is a week's journey away.

The PC's should return to the plains after stocking up on any supplies they might need from either town. After three random encounters, they arrive at the third and final city: Macosta. Unlike the other two towns, Macosta is a full-sized Metropolis. After the PC's are done exploring the town, they should head to the waterfront district. There, a gnomish sailor and his crew will ferry the PC's to their destination in their keelboat for 300 gp.

The journey is fairly simple (two random aquatic encounters), until the ship nears Arakith's island. There, the PC's are beset by three hungry Water Drakes (See The Draconomicon for more information). Once these beasts are taken care of, the voyage to Arakith's lair begins.

Due to his paranoid wife, the forest around Arakith's mountain and the mountain itself is loaded with traps. At any given moment, the PC's may stumble upon a booby trap designed to dissuade anyone who might be a danger to Celalla's new brood. Roll on Table 3-19 of The Dungeon Master's Guide when the PC's land until they are 200 feet in, Table 3-20 when they are over 200 feet in before Arakith's mountain lair, and Table 3-21 as they are scaling the mountain and as they enter the new maze in his lair.

Once the PC's enter the main hall, the two Copper Dragons will immediately go on the defensive. Arakith will calm down once Salicia steps forward with her four brothers, but Celalla will become all the more enraged. A brief scene should take place here, where Salicia and Celalla begin hurling insults at one another, before the Copper Dragon finally loses her temper and begins combat.

Though it lasts no more than two rounds before Arakith intervenes, Celalla may end up killing one or more of the half-dragons. The DM should run combat as he sees fit for the next result.

If Salicia dies, another scene should occur where an incredulous Arakith should hold his daughter's body in his claw, and finally turn on his mate. The battle begins to collapse the cave, and the PC's can do nothing but leave the two dragons to settle the fight. If Arakith is victorious, he will come out of the cave with Salicia on his back. He returns to Miryth and wipes out every last Orc he sees in the surrounding area within three days.

If Celalla is victorious, the quest ends in failure and the PC's will be the next target until they escape the island.

If Salicia is unharmed, Arakith takes the PC's back to their ship, along with Kjell if he remains alive, and flies back to Miryth with his five half-dragon children on is back. His last words to Celalla are a divorce.

Celalla will not attack the PC's as they fly away, and she raises her children normally on the island.


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